Secrets & hiding from the truth


I spent most of 2009 lying to everyone, including myself.

From lies to "protect" my loved ones from what I believed they didn't want to know, to putting a positive spin on everything lest I be judged (while all along I was the one judging myself).

Trust me: it's lonely caught in a vortex of denial and avoidance.

So what really happened?

I got divorced.

More than that, I flipped my life upside down. In the space of a month, I went from living in a brownstone on Manhattan's upper westside with a cushy disposable income, to living upstate with my dad, sleeping on the same twin bed from my childhood and on the same Mickey Mouse cotton sheets.

I didn't like my new story, so I definitely wasn't sharing it.

Hadn't I told myself that I'd never move back to my hometown? It would mean I failed. First lesson: be careful of sweeping declarations. They have a way of proving you wrong. I learned that one a few times in 2009, like on my fifth trip to IKEA after saying a year before that I'd never assemble my own furniture again.

We'll call that lying to myself.

I lied to others too. For each person, I deemed how much information they could "handle," or that I could handle telling them without really hating myself.

The problem, as anyone knows who has kept secrets—or worse, multiple layers of them—is that it's tough to keep track.

After a while I started outing myself without realizing it. "Oh, you're not living in New York City?," I'd hear. Oops.

Then, I forgot who I hadn't told yet. This is a strange reply to Christmas cards: "Your kids are adorable! I forgot when I gave you my new address to mention that I didn't move there with my husband."

Lying is much more difficult than telling the truth. Frankly, it made me feel even worse about myself.

The only times I felt better were when I was honest. Then, I could ask for the hug I needed.

More importantly, I could begin to forgive myself for changing my life so dramatically. It had been my decision after all, so I blamed myself for my discomfort. Unfortunately, lying just increased the blame.

January 2010 presents the perfect opportunity to do what I needed to do all along. Be honest. Already it feels like a weight has been lifted.

Is there anything you want to come clean about? I'd love the company.